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Azazel the Agent: as necessary an evil as a dentist

Welcome along to my blog, which hopefully (barring a flurry of complaints) will become a regular feature.

Why would a simple blog on a website attract complaints? I will tell you why. I work in the contract recruitment market. And what you learn extremely quickly in this market is that contractors are an extremely tetchy lot. As are recruitment agents. They're as jumpy as a bunny rabbit on crack.

And that becomes a problem when you decide to write a blog that will unscrew the lid on what really happens everyday in the wonderful world of recruitment. Some of you may rant and rave at the screen, you may open up your email client to write to the host and ask how can they publish such rubbish. You will more than likely go on a forum and become a keyboard warrior like I'm being and shout bile.

But before you do, just do one little thing. Stop for a moment, think of something that makes you happy. Fishing at the weekend, seeing a new billboard advert with Brad Pitt on it, eating an extra helping of dessert when you're on a diet, catching a peep of woman's bra under her dress when you're on the tube in the morning. Now you're in a happy zone sit back and just consider.... you know I'm right.

I'm sure you're gagging to know whose solicitous words you're reading. Well, I'm Azazel. Obviously not my real name, but we all need a mask of anonymity once in a while. I hope you understand. Even Damon Albarn hid behind a pseudonym for a while when he started working with Gorillaz. Mind you, with such rubbish as they released who can blame them?

I've worked for many years as a recruitment agent in the south of the UK, and I'm very good at it thank you very much. Just in case you care, outside of work I enjoy live music and other people getting the next round in.

On to the good stuff. Let's be honest. You contractors don't like people like me. You go on the internet and moan about people like me, you think that I'm some evil urchin taking some of your daily rate whilst I put my feet up on my desk and think "now that Porsche 911... should I get the Alcantara leather adaptive sport seats, or should I get the Alcantara leather lightweight bucket seats?"

That question is actually immaterial because I don't like the Porsche 911. It's what recruitment agents buy when they just want to look like their boss. Anyway, back to the point - you don't like me. But you should. There's a reason I exist. Are you ready for it?

You... need... me.

Calm down, calm down. Don't be so irrational about that statement and email the host just yet. Think about it. Of course you do. Have you ever picked up the phone and called a company out of the blue to see if they could do with your savvy skills? What did they say? I bet it was, in pig latin, "uggerbay offyay." And if you picked up the phone again to chance your luck once more, the next person probably said "oveshay atthay onephay upyay ouryay arseyay."

Get my point? Cold calling is hard. It's a thankless, gruelling task and we have people that do it all day, everyday. That's their job. You, on the other hand are beavering away at your client's site. Pray tell, when are you actually meant to do this cold calling?

"Aha Azazel!" I hear you cry, "when I'm between contracts I can do that for myself!"

Well yes, you can. But the thing with this cold calling lark is that it takes a lot of effort and a lot of time to convert that initial cold call into a viable opportunity. I'm sure you would much rather watch Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts express themselves on Homes Under The Hammer. Leave the tough work to us. What you don't realise is that it can take many months from the first uncomfortable phone call before someone wants to use us as their agents. Just how long is that war chest of yours? How long can you go without a contract.

Of course, there are a couple of you out there that are good at networking and also have a long, successful track record as a contractor. You rare lot can find your own work a lot of the time. Well done to you. But as for the rest of you, the overriding majority, just think. You don't want to grip that phone with a sweaty palm and stutter away as you wait for the other person to hang up. You don't want to deal with the endless banality of follow up calls and emails. You don't want the sheer bum-numbing boredom that is wining and dining clients. And you don't want to enter the murky waters that is rate negotiation (more on that in another blog).

Leave that to the professionals. Like me.

And remember that next time I call. Just a little humility of the work Azazel does for you won't go amiss.

Happy functioning all.

Azazel The Agent
freelancesupermarket.com Blogger
2nd July 2009